Why Are Book Descriptions Always So Difficult To Write?

Great book descriptions are difficult to write

Why is it so difficult for most authors to write book descriptions that grab potential book buyers?

Nothing kills a potential book sale faster than a poor book description, except perhaps for a terrible book cover.

The combination of the two together is a death sentence.

In a way, the answer to the problem of poor book descriptions and awful book covers are related, because both require skills that many authors don’t have.

Great book covers are almost always produced by professional graphic designers, who are expert at image manipulation, layout, focal points and the use of eye-catching colours and fonts.

For a great book description, there are essential elements such as questions, hooks, emotional connectors, power phrases, call to action words and creating an urge to discover more.

These writing skills often don’t come naturally to authors, who are by trade in a sense, not very good at being concise, persuasive and direct. However, these skills are the domain of copywriters.

In recent years, self-published authors have realised that their book covers have to be top-notch, so spending money on having a killer cover designed is now considered almost essential.

If you have a great cover but are not getting sales, even though you are getting people to your book sales page, perhaps it could be your book description that is causing low conversion rates, and maybe it’s time to consider re-writing your book description, or even thinking about hiring a copywriter to do it for you.

There are a lot of copywriters around social media and on sites such as Fiverr and Elance and Freelancer, so if you are having trouble writing a great book description, or think it might be time to improve it to help your sales, a small investment in a well-written book description may be money well spent.

If you are considering what you should do about your book description, you might find our recent in-depth article, How a Copywriter Would Write a Book Description, of great interest.


More reading: Common Self-Publishing Blunders And How You Can Avoid Them


Derek Haines

A Cambridge CELTA English teacher and author with a passion for writing and all forms of publishing. My days are spent teaching English and writing, as well as testing and taming new technology.

2 thoughts on “Why Are Book Descriptions Always So Difficult To Write?

  • June 20, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    What I did was to go to Amazon and study the sales copy used by traditional publishers for big-name authors. All the sales copy I studied was for books that made bestseller lists.

    I looked at thrillers, mysteries, romance, science-fiction and fantasy product descriptions.

    The interesting thing is that some of those product descriptions weren’t particularly good. This made me realize I could do a better job myself.

    • May 19, 2017 at 9:23 am

      Good thinking Louis! Might give that idea a try myself


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